Giovanni, the boss of Team Go Rocket, can be fought in Pokémon Go.
If you're powerful enough to defeat him, you'll receive some great rewards, including the opportunity to capture a legendary Shadow Pokémon, such as Shadow Articuno.
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How to find Giovanni in Pokémon Go
If you want to battle Giovanni in Pokémon Go, then you need to complete the following stages:
- First, you must complete the Special Research story-line, A Troubling Situation to unlock the latest Giovanni Special Research quest. A Challenging Development, for example, was the Giovanni Special Research quest for December 2019. (The latest returned in April 2022 with Silent Schemes.)
- Next, reach and complete the fourth step of your current Giovanni Special Research task, which will ask you to defeat each Team Go Rocket Leader Arlo, Cliff and Sierra once.
- Completing the fourth step will reward you with the Super Rocket Radar.
Now that you have the Super Rocket Radar, you can use it to hunt down the leader of Team Go Rocket himself - Giovanni.
The Super Rocket Radar works in a very similar fashion to the Rocket Radars you create by collecting Mysterious Components.
Access your Bag via the main menu and then scroll down till you find the Super Rocket Radar in your inventory. Here you can equip and unequip the Super Rocket Radar whenever you like.
The Super Rocket Radar, however, doesn't just display the location of Giovanni's hideout. A number of Grunts disguised as Giovanni will also appear on the radar, all hoping to prevent you from finding their boss.
You'll have to work your way through these disguised Grunts, until you find the actual PokéStop Giovanni is hiding out in.
Giovanni counters in Pokémon Go
Once you find Giovanni, prepare yourself for a fight. His Pokémon are a lot stronger than the previous Team Go Rocket Leaders you've fought, so make sure your team is just as powerful.
Giovanni's choice of legendary Shadow Pokémon and second party member rotate every month, meaning you will often find yourself battling different Pokémon.
In April 2022, Giovanni was updated with the following line-up:
|First Pokémon||Second Pokémon||Third Pokémon|
Persian will always come up first and is weak against fighting, so having a Lucario, Conkeldurr or Machamp are your best bets here.
Fighting will only serve you well against Rhyperior up next, otherwise you should switch to an electric type, which will take down Honchkrow and Gyarados, the latter which has additional weakness you can take advantage of. Raikou, Electivire or Zapdos are good shouts here.
For the final encounter, you'll be up against Latias. Thankfully, we have a wide spread of weaknesses - ghost, ice, dragon, dark, fairy or bug - so come with your most powerful of these, ideally a legendary, to take them down. If you're stuck for inspiration, our favourite Latias counters include Gengar, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Gardevoir, Rayquaza and Togekiss.
That should cover you for this encounter. In terms of best practices, as with the Leaders Arlo, Cliff and Sierra, when it comes to building a team to fight Giovanni, try to use a Pokémon that will have an advantage over two Pokémon in his team. This will allow you to the use the same Pokémon twice, keeping your choice for the Legendary Shadow Pokémon safe from harm until it's needed.
It's also important to remember that, like the previous Team Go Rocket Leaders, Giovanni has two Protect Shields at his disposal.
Ideally, you'll want him to use them to protect his Persian, allowing you to easily attack his second choice of Pokémon. To achieve this, start with a Pokémon that has a Charged move that can be quickly charged.
How often can you fight Giovanni in Pokémon Go?
Every calendar month, you'll receive a new Giovanni Special Research task, which will become available at midnight on the first day of every month.
This will give you a Super Rocket Radar, giving a reliable way of battling Giovanni at least once a month, with the possibility of being able to catch a different legendary Shadow Pokémon.
If you finished Looming in the Shadows, however, in a month other than November 2019, then you will automatically skip to that month's Giovanni Special Research quest, unable to complete any of the other quests that came in-between.
As well as from monthly quests, as long as you have a Super Rocket Radar in your inventory, you can fight Giovanni at any time. It has been a reward in several additional quests, so they might be worth saving until a month where the Shadow Pokémon reward available is one you want to stock up on.
April 2022 introduces the Silent Schemes event, which requires learning new Leader counters and Giovanni counters. Elsewhere, we've recently seen new Ditto disguises as part of the Season of Alola, which also introduced An Akala Adventure and more Gen 7 Pokémon including Fomantis and Tapu Lele. Elsewhere, off the back of the Go Tour Johto event is Masterwork Research Apex to complete.
Rewards for defeating Giovanni in Pokémon Go
You will receive a variety of rewards for defeating Giovanni. This includes 5000 Stardust and a variety of healing items, such as Max Potions and Max Revives. There's also a chance that you'll receive a Unova Stone.
Best of all, however, you'll be given the opportunity to catch a Legendary Shadow Pokémon.
Every month brings a new Shadow Legendary Pokémon. This means that, if there's a particular Shadow Legendary Pokémon you want to add to your collection, then you must complete the Team Go Rocket Special Research quest for that month.
Completing The Take-Over Continues in January 2020, for example, would reward you with Shadow Moltres, but, if you completed the same story-line in another month, you'll find yourself facing a different Shadow Legendary Pokémon.
Here are the Shadow Legendary Pokémon Giovanni has had in his team:
Giovanni Shadow Legendary Pokémon so far:
- Shadow Articuno - November 2019 and March 2021
- Shadow Zapdos - December 2019, April and June 2021
- Shadow Moltres- January 2020 and May 2021
- Shadow Raikou - February 2020
- Shadow Entei - March to July 2020
- Shadow Suicune - July 2020 (as part of the Go Fest Battle celebrations) and from July to October 2020
- Shadow Mewtwo - October 2020
- Shadow Ho-Oh - June 2021
- Shadow Lugia - November 2021
- Shadow Latias - April 2022
Defeating Giovanni will also help you level up the Ultra Hero medal, which records how many times you've defeated the boss of Team Go Rocket.
Thanks to Chrales from Twitter, we know what this clothing looks like:
As you level up the Ultra Hero medal, you'll unlock a variety of Giovanni themed clothing for your avatar to wear.
Here are the clothing items and medal ranks each piece unlocks at:
- Shoes - Silver Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 5 times)
- Pants - Silver Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 5 times)
- Shirt - Gold Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 20 times)
- Gloves - Gold Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 20 times)
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